How (not) to write a CV.


I wrote this article as an example to demonstrate common mistakes in resumes I have seen. I received the following resume / CV for review and immediately I knew this resume / CV is simply, to say the least, not good. It actually reminded me of my first resume / CV which was totally ignored until I leaned to apply the required modification to make my CV attractive.

We’ll start by reviewing what I first saw when I opened the MS Word document, this is called “Above the fold” area.

Above the fold

From the first view we get to see only personal details and that the applicant has a master and a bachelor degrees from an overseas university. Definitely not enough relevant information


Assuming this applicant is applying for a job that requires an engineering degree, we can assume that all other applicants for the position offered in the ad also have an engineering degree. Which makes education information relevant but not crucially important and the correct location for education is towards the end of the document, not at the first page. For further information about resume / CV Structure click here.

Another important issue is that the degree is from a foreign university that might rank very high in the applicant home country but in Australia, it is not a familiar university and the applicant might not be qualified to work as a professional in Australia, The correct way of doing this is to register to the local affiliation which automatically demonstrate that you are accepted in Australia to work in your profession. We will discuss Affiliation later on in this article, just keep on reading.

What is lacking from the “Above the fold” area?

Three important parameters are missing:

  • Profile
  • Affiliation.
  • Skills


The Profile, the most important narrative of 2-3 lines should give a brief description of the most critical information related directly to the position offered.


He is an Engineer, must be accredited by Engineers Australia. Big mistake as his degree is from an overseas university and most likely the recruiter isn’t familiar with it so he might assume it belong to some low ranking institute. By gaining accredited by an affiliation you can take all doubts regarding your degree and make yourself attractive to the local market.


All the skills, including all keywords required for the job. For further info regarding keywords click here.

Quality of the resume – Format

This resume was written without the use of Header, Footer or any automatic formatting available in MS Word which reflects very badly on the applicant ability to produce high quality work. If the applicant can’t even provide a quality CV, it is obvious his skills are not sufficient.

Review of the complete first page


When I zoomed out and had a look of the complete page 1, I noticed the career objective.

Career objective

When reading the career objective you can’t fail noticing they are full of wishes and focus on learning and improving. It doesn’t talk about using skills already gained by the applicant. This might sound very ambitious which is great but it also sounds like the applicant doesn’t have any experience and he expects his future employer to train him or the applicant will gain experience while working on the job. Many employers offer development programs but primarily they hire skilled people who can do the job as of their first day (except graduates which has a separate graduate programs but they are paid lower than a professional). This is definitely not a good applicant as he comes off as having no relevant experience.

Review of the second page


Work experience

Finally we get some real experience. It looks reasonable but if you read it through it seems the applicant has gained too much experience which is only relevant to his current employer such as in house software and system. This will not benefit future employers and therefore should not be included in the resume / CV.

When writing job experience it is not necessary to write the months. The year started and finished working in that location is sufficient. It is also not recommended to write what type of employment it was such as full time / casual/ part time as it simply not relevant to your future employment.

It is also obvious this wasn’t written by a professional as you can tell it was translated from a foreign language. No keywords are included in the work experience such as MS word, CAD software, Australian Standards etc.

We’ll review one of the lines of the job experience

  • Learned and got acquainted with the various products of the company.

First of all, that is not an achievement. Second, how is that relevant to future employer? Third, that is use of poor English. There simple ways to ensure that the quality of the English grammar and formatting is to a minimum standard prior to sending your resume / CV.

The last page



Finally we have an affiliation but… How is being a member of engineers and architects in a foreign country has any relevant to the position the applicant is applying too? If he wants to work in Australia, he has to be registered in Australia…


First, Skills should have been on the first page. Second, are those all the skills the applicant has? We learn the applicant has various computer skills but are those his only skills? Without further research I can tell you that an engineer will require further skills. This CV will not even pass the automatic scan (robots) due to lack of keywords.


Unless required for the position offered, don’t write languages. In Australia all positions are obviously in English and therefore it is obvious you can read / write / communicate in English. Why would you write that your native language is different? How is that helpful for the application? It simply isn’t. Some position will require you to have very good English for documentation and by stating English isn’t the applicant first language you he automatically disqualify himself. The level of your English will be demonstrated during the interview.


Not required in the resume / CV. “Referee list available upon request” is all that is required in this field


This resume will not pass even the automatic scan due to lack of keywords. Even if the recruiter will open the resume it will be immediately rejected due to poor structure. Ignoring that the quantities of mistakes, irrelevant information, poor English and insufficient important information will definitely kill the applicant chances to get short listed.


I would recommend the applicant to modify his resume completely as per the instructions on this site or get professional help.

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